Comparative Criticism beyond Eurocentrism: In Search of the Untranslatables of Literary Theory

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While the study of world literature is often seen as escaping the boundaries of eurocentrism—albeit with the need for constant revision and self-critique—a truer overcoming would involve another sort of anthologization, namely, of world theory and criticism. World literature should go beyond being a reified collection of translated texts, to become an exploration and comparison of the different ways of thinking about literature and aesthetics in different parts of the world. Barbara Cassin’s Vocabulaire Européen des philosophies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles provides a possible model in this regard. The untranslatability of critical terms from different traditions is generative of new meanings due to the repeated efforts to translate and to compare non-synonymous terms with each other. This essay examines the untranslatability and comparability of several different terms from Asian aesthetic traditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-112
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Foreign Languages and Cultures
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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